“Show me your tea… I’ll tell you who tea!” »Get ready to stir your taste buds and let’s explore matcha, the famous Japanese green tea, this fine powder in the Far East!
Teas have remained and remain one of the most popular specialties of the Far East in general and this is all the more true for the Matcha, this very light green tea that comes straight from Japan. The Matcha is as exotic as its name, it is an intense green and is known for its ultra fine powder preparation which gives it all its delicacy and richness at the same time. So what are the virtues of this food? how to prepare it? But above all, why talk about it?
It wouldn’t be conceivable to answer all of these questions without taking a look at the history of matcha. Everything brings us to a single date: 1191; date on which this tea was known almost at the same time as Zen Buddhism to which it is constantly attached, as being an integral part of the traditional tea ceremony formulated by the master Sen No Rikyu.
So much for the little history lesson. Scientifically now, this sacred tea is not like that for its religious character, researchers at prestigious Yale University revere it if I may say so for other reasons. In addition to the fact that this is an antioxidant, which inevitably makes it overkill when it comes to fighting certain diseases but also cell aging and cholesterol. This miracle of science would reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, cancer and at recommended doses (237 ml) the risk of suffering a myocardial infarction; the risk is reduced by 44%. The Matcha also contains enzymes and tannin both beneficial for our body which needs it badly to forget those industrial cakes that ruin more than one.
When preparing this green tea, you should know that there are two very distinct ones: one codified for the ceremonies known under the name of Chanoyu ; the other, well it’s up to you! In fact, what you do with Matcha will depend completely on how it is conditioned and grown. This process is so delicate and so particular that in the end it will result in different teas with different names. Example: if the tea leaves are rolled up before drying it will give a Gyokuro.
To summarize a little bit and come back to cooking, either you use the Matcha as an ingredient for cakes or pastries (even homemade) as is often the case in Japan or you make a simple tea with non-boiling water. So let me suggest a few recipes that I liked and that I stole here and there with their link as a bonus: the madeleines Matcha Yuzu which will be a treat for your taste buds. The Daifuku mochi at Matcha which bear the sweet nickname of the little snowball, you will let it melt well in your mouth … and finally what could be simpler than a Matcha latte with soy milk or whipped with water to sip sips while you savor your friend’s conversation on J-Rock and it is at this precise moment that the answer to the last question comes on its own: A beautiful metaphor mixing purity and delicacy to taste at least once in your life.
- Kenichi Yamamoto, The secret of the tea master, Mercure de France, coll.
- Sumpio BE, Cordova AC, Berke-Schlessel DW. Green tea, the “Asian paradox” and cardiovascular disease, J Am Coll Surg, 2006 May; 202 (5): 813-25.
Photo 1: Jigme Datse Rasku
Photo 2: Cristóbal Vila – etereaestudios.com
Image 3: Chanoyu